Many times Loss Prevention Professionals find that a Shoplifter is not just working alone. They have developed relationships with employees that are actively or passively helping them. In some cases for profit or a “cut”. In other cases they are allowing friends to steal. For instance, a Cashier allows a friend to bring high value merchandise through their POS, pretends to ring up the high value merchandise but uses a low value SKU such as a pack of gum.

Many times we in Management think that this type of employee theft or shoplifting is only committed by “younger” people. This is not the case at all. Do not be mislead by a preconceived notion.

Below are situations that you must be on alert for at all times:

  • Unusually large or frequent refunds to a particular customer for returned merchandise.
  • Anonymous phone calls or letters concerning theft.
  • Unusually friendly relationships among employees and outsiders such as truck drivers, repairmen and trash collectors.
  • Frequent contact among employees and visitors, especially those visitors who carry shopping bags or other containers.
  • Contact by employees with gamblers, drug dealers, gang members, loan sharks, etc.
  • Many customers always deal with one employee and refuse to buy from anyone else.
  • Stock being sold in outlets that never buy from the company.
  • Gifts or favors to accounts payable employees from suppliers or to accounts receivable employees from customers.
  • Reduced purchases by customers who deal closely with warehouse or shipping personnel.
  • Presence of outside personnel (telephone repair, building service, salesmen, etc.) in areas where they have no legitimate business, or in un-businesslike communication with employees.
  • Newly received items being sold in flea markets.
  • Complaints received from other business or retailers.
  • Shoplifters are always blamed for the theft.
  • Gifts or favors from other mall retailers accepted by your employees.

These “signals” do not necessarily prove the existence of theft; they only point to the possibility of such theft.